Make no mistake about it. Your brand reputation precedes you and the success of your business rides on how well you sculpt and project your brand identity.
As our earliest ancestors stopped wandering and gathering and settled down together, destined to create civilizations that hinged on trade and interdependence, few among them got very far without interpreting the reputation of others and using that knowledge to their advantage. Through the centuries, as humankind populated the globe, our reputations started to precede us (as the saying goes) and if you are an entrepreneur, you are no different than your ancestors in that sense.
Brand reputation is the foundation upon which you will build your entire business and it branches out with each transaction and in how your products and services perform when put to the test by your clients. So to be keenly aware that your reputation exists and has momentum (for better or for worse) often before eye contact is made or words are exchanged…and it will pick up steam and last long after any business dealing is completed.
Promises, promises…they are empty without the substance that is excellent performance
No one will buy a thing from you if all you can deliver is lip service. People take action because they have reason to believe your brand stands for things that will serve them and they garner that belief based on the results your company produces and in the way other people have experienced your brand.
Minuteman Press franchise owner of Somerset West in South Africa, Gayle Meyeridricks, actively participates in finding and implementing solutions of all kinds for all of her clients and she makes sure her staff is as dedicated to their success, always. She shares, “I coach my staff about personalized customer service, and many of our customers have preferred staff members. However, when things get a little heated or they need something a little out of the ordinary and require us to go the extra mile, it really helps for me to get personally involved. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Customers feel more confident when the owner gets involved. They love to hear words like ‘personally attend to it’, ‘personally deliver’, ‘personally see that it reaches you immediately’ or simply approaching them saying, ‘Hi, I am the owner. How can I help you?’ will go a long way towards solving their problem and furthering your good reputation.”
If you want them to pay attention to you and your business, here are 4 things you can do:
1. Do the right thing: How you and your team handle the daily functioning of your business directly affects the direction in which your brand reputation will go. From preschool, when we are given “jobs” such as handing out cookies for snack time, we know, inherently, to make sure each kid gets one and no one gets a broken one. Doing the right thing is a practice that is tied to honor and applies under all circumstances, regardless of whether or not you think you have an audience. You do. You ALWAYS have an audience if you are running a business. Stay connected to your employees and to your clients on a personal level and guarantee your work, backing that guarantee up with solutions to unforeseen challenges as needed.
2. Do the digital thing: Continually refresh your website with content that is in line with your brand identity and not only functional, but easy on the eyes. Get your LinkedIn company page rolling in tandem with other social media outlets and don’t shy away from videos and photos that show your business at work for clients and at play within the community through the many events available through business clubs. People want to see you and your team as real individuals and allowing them to do this breathes life into your brand reputation. Create an atmosphere of healthy exchange with your audience and add a comments section, while welcoming people to write freely to you…and always answer. Be sure to adorn the various sites that house your digital brand presence with social share buttons and if you are putting energy into your internet interactions, you will be more likely to be “LIKED” (and shared).
Be sure to monitor your brand gossip with online tools such as Google Alerts so you can monitor what people are saying about your business. There will always be the negative commentator out there, so outline a simple plan to combat the negativity and move on to keep pumping out positivity.
3. Do the PRINT Thing: Hey, these days there simply must be emphasis on starting, developing and protecting your company’s reputation online, but you would be woefully remiss to neglect the real world and that is represented in marketing through print, first and foremost. The traditional printed marketing channel has always worked and will continue to work across all demographics and generations, thanks to our lasting attraction to physically printed items as bearers of messages and to the advances in print technology that allow for greater personalization and a reasonable cost. Promotional products alone will bless your bottom line with returns if you gift your audience with the right ones…and the ways in which you can imprint your brand on useful and fun items seem limitless today. Imprint your brand generously and your brand will be imprinted with a generous reputation.
DID YOU KNOW? In the last 10 years, direct mail response rates have actually increased by 14 percent. –Media Blog
4. Do the community thing: Join Business Clubs like Kiwanis, BNI and Chamber of Commerce, but know that your reputation for a wallflower will not bring you new clients or help you develop valuable ties with fellow business owners. You will have a selection of community events, dinners, luncheons, fairs, groundbreaking ceremonies and speaking engagements during which you can come prepared with freshly printed marketing collateral such as business cards and branded pens. You aren’t there to do sales pitches. You are there to blend into the groove enough to become part of the fabric of the group through participation and discussion. Use the story of your entrepreneurship and the pride you have in your products and services to get people talking positively about you. Give business cards and promotional items out generously along the way.
DID YOU KNOW? Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20% to 50% of all purchasing decisions – McKinsey & Co.
Joel Brookmyer, owner of International Minute Press in Casa Grande, Arizona, helps his clients build strong, enduring brand reputations as a digital print, design and marketing expert. Thanks to the ongoing excellence of his own brand, new clients find Joel through the respected and wide-spread reputation of the modern printing industry, Minuteman Press International. He shares an example, “We just aligned with the local minor league hockey league and we had several meetings and had to expedite things very quickly because they were behind the eight ball. They needed their schedules printed so we printed 150,000 pocket schedules to distribute quickly and widely. They were 5 or 6 months late moving their franchise to Tucsan so we needed to help them catch up and get on top of their marketing. We were more than able to accommodate their needs. The nice thing about it was that the contact person that reached out to me did so because the last team he worked for also used a Minuteman Press. This reflects directly on how Minuteman Press International is respected because he reached right out to us on brand reputation alone.”
DID YOU KNOW? 84% of consumers reported always or sometimes taking action based on personal recommendations. 70% said they did the same of online consumer opinions. – Nielsen
The concept of reputation has been influencing our decisions when it comes to dealing with other people since the development of the earliest civilizations. People pay attention and act upon your brand reputation. How they act, whether through making that initial transaction or turning to the competition, is going to depend upon the word on the street, so to speak. They will pay attention to your brand reputation and either love it, try it and find their place into your customer base or they will heed the warnings of those who review your business as neglectful in some manner. Ultimately, the best way to ensure they pay attention for the right reasons and take the right action is to make good on your promises and tend to your brand presence online, in print and in person.
To learn more about joining the #1 rated Minuteman Press franchise family, call us at 1-800-645-3006 or simply fill out the contact form on this page.